James Saranpaa
A graduate of the Cook High School, class of 1969

UMD, 1981
Jim's parents; James Sr. 88,2912 & Miriam 84,2011 (Teinila) Saranpaa

Sent: Tuesday, May 03, 2016
Subject: Vermilion Feeder Calf Auction
Hereís a picture of the very first year of the Vermilion Feeder Calf Auction in October 1967.  The auctioneer in the white shirt was Morris Besser of Ogilvie, MN.  I am pictured on the right with a clip board.  I recorded the lot #ís, the sales price and the owner.  To the left of the booth is Randy Brodeen who got the release to move the cattle out of the sales ring and back to their pen to await the buyer to load them after the sale.
The auction was organized by area farmers, Tony Grebenc (Adult Education Teacher), Leo Wilenius (Ag teacher and FFA Advisor at Cook High School) with the help of the University of Minnesota College of Agriculture, Forestry and Home Economics and the County Extension office Tim Main, Agent.  It was a way for our area farmers to market their calves without having to endure the expense of shipping them down to the South St. Paul Stockyards.  Itís first year was a huge success and the stockyards were doubled in size the second year.  The seating area was built for the buyers and was a multi-level facility.  Local farmers did good at the sale and the buyers liked the areaís calves that came from as far away as Cherry, Iron, Hibbing, Embarrass, Tower, Bigfork, Littlefork, Greaney and other areas.  Buyers came from Iowa and Southern Minnesota. Hundreds of people flocked to Cook on sales day and large cattle semiís were parked all around the stockyards which was located directly across from the Arrowhead Seed Growers Co-Op.  The ag students and FFA members volunteered their labor to build the stockyards, railroad ties for fence posts were provided by the DWP and lumber was sawn by area sawmills.
All good things come to an end.  Some of the buyers, instead of waiting for auction day, started going direct to the large farmers and offering to buy direct off the farm.  Some of the big operators got greedy and took them up on that.  That led to nasty disputes between those who gave their hearts and souls to get this thing started, only to see them get screwed by the very same people they were trying to help.  One man actually got in a fist fight when one of the scab farmers started hanging around prior to sale day.
Once a huge success it eventually died since the small operators could not compete with their greedy neighbors.
 Thanks, Jimmy Saranpaa


Memories of the past, His father and his cars
Timber Days in Cook

Pictured in front of the Embarrass High School.  Note the bow-wow sleeping on the school steps, probably waiting for his brother or sister to finish school for the day.  His FFA Advisor at the time was Waino J. Kortesmaki, who went on to become long-time Executive Secretary of the Minnesota FFA Association.  ďKortĒ was responsible for my development in leadership skills, he sheparded me along, named me to state FFA committees, arranged for me to go to a week long leadership conference at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, named me to participate in the FFA People-To-People Goodwill mission to Europe.  ďKortĒ made sure that when the FFA Camp in Britt was in session, all groceries were bought from the Cook Co-Op and he visited with my father each and every year he was up.  Iím so proud of my father, he grew up dirt poor, I mean really poor, he couldnít even afford a FFA jacket yet ďKortĒ saw talent and brought him along.

Jim's father and his cars

Here is my Grandfatherís old Model A in front of my fatherís home in Embarrass.
This is his 37 Chevy, both him and my mother in front of her home in Embarrass.

Hereís his 48 Chevy. He bought it 1 year old from Reliance in Virginia. 
 He didnít like the car, couldnít see out the rear window.

Hereís his brand new 52 Chevy bought from Reliance. 
In front of my motherís home.
 Timber Days in Cook
James Saranpaa took these photos from atop the Co-op store.




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